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September 7 , 2012

Reviews of the Week

First reactions from Great Britain on Alexi Lubimov's and Natalia Pschenitschnikova's recordings of music by John Cage on As It Is

Between the songs come some of the early piano and prepared piano pieces, often, like Meditation and the Unavailable Memory Of, composed for dances by Cage’s partner, Merce Cunningham. But what emerges most forcefully is the precision of Cage’s aural imagination. Nothing is generalised, and the performances of Lubimov and Pschenitschnikova take immense care over every nuance, without ever sacrificing any of the sense of the music’s shape.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian

The flood of releases marking Cage’s centenary continues with this excellent selection of early works played by pianist Alexei Lubimov and singer Natalia Pschenitschnikova, who have been performing his music since the time it outraged the Russian establishment in the ‘60s and ‘70s. [...] The standout track, though, is “Dream” from 1948, a solo piano piece which follows no overt narrative progression but drifts from note to note without ever sounding wilful or wrong.
Andy Gill, The Independent

Swedish daily Dagbladet on Kim Kashkashian's Music For Viola with compositions by György Kurtág and György Ligeti

Intensitet i musikk er en forunderlig ting. Det slår meg, ved lytting til bratsjisten Kim Kashkashians siste utgivelse på ECM. Den heter ganske enkelt „Musikk for bratsi“, og er viet to komponisters solostykker for instrumentet hennes, György Kurtags „Signs, Games and Messages“ (et verk komonisten selv betegner som „Work in progress“) fra slutten av 1980-tallet, og György Ligetis Bratsjsonate fra begynnelsen av 1990-tallet. Det dreier seg altså om to ungarske komponister, to av de betydeligste komponistene fra vår egen tid. Men utgivelsen fester raskt oppmerksomheten rundt en fabelaktig musiker og hennes instrument.
Ståle Wikshåland, Dagbladet

Vox Clamantis' recording Filia Sion is acclaimed in England and France

The variety in ensemble and timbre generates plenty of colour and contrast between the pieces, and while all of them have a familial similarity they are all different, and the inventive approach brought to them is truly inspiring.
Dominy Clements, Music Web International

Les chanteurs du chœur estonien Vox Clamantis se placent indéniablement parmi les rares ensembles aujourd’hui cpapables de donner véritablement vie au chant grégorien, èvitant les ècueils si fréquents des imprécisions d’ensemble, ou des lourdeurs de phrasé. Par leur conduite incroyablement sûre et expressives des liges, leur déclamation limpide, ainsi que par l’harmonie remarquable des chateurs au sein du groupe, on croirait n’entdendre qu’une voix collective , qui transmet ces mélodies avec une vitalité et un naturel impressionnants.
Guillaume Bunel, Classica

English daily Independent on Sunday on Enrico Rava's versions of songs by Michael Jackson on On The Dance Floor

The band is funky, the arrangements interesting and Rava is in fine form.
Phil Johnson, Independent On Sunday

Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche is impressed by Masabumi Kikuchi's Sunrise

...im Wortsinn unerhörte Musik, von einer brüskierenden Intimität und einer alles Naheliegende verweigernden Gegenwärtigkeit. Eine andauernde sanfte Provokation. […] Motian hat immer das Metrum sabotiert, aufgelöst, umspielt, als Ahnung beschworen, in einen prekären Puls verwandelt. Im denkbar dichtesten und offensten Interplay mit Kikuchi und Bassist Thomas Morgan wird, von drei scheinbar fast konventionellen Balladen abgesehen, das Metrum regelrecht „zerfetzt“. Die denkbar radikalste und vom Begriff weitestentfernte Form von Ragtime (ragged time). Schön anstrengend, das heißt schön und anstrengend. Oder auch ganz einfach. Wie ein Naturvorgang: Regenfall, Wolkenzug, Hagelschlag.
Peter Rüedi, Die Weltwoche

English critic Peter Bacon on Arild Andersen's and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra's Celebration of music from the ECM catalogue

I was intrigued and a little concerned at the outset to hear how the delicacy of much ECM music might translate into the bold power of the SNJO. Any fears were quickly allayed – this is, of course, a group of musicians as adept at being the quietly sensitive jazz orchestra as they are at being the swaggering big band. And, of course, Andersen is such an eloquent soloist, a winning combination of sensitivity and swagger himself.
Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast